The soil makes the difference

By Pastor Steven Anderson,

Grace Covenant Church

From farmers to home owners, everyone seems to be out working the soil. Fields get tilled and planted, vegetables get planted in the garden, and annual flowers are put into the flower beds. Good seeds and plants matter, but we all know that the soil is what makes the difference in the growing. Once Jesus told a story of about different types of soil. Listen: A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. (Matthew 13:3-9)

The story is told so that we would face up to the kind of soil we are for the Good News of Jesus Christ. God’s Son, Jesus Christ, died a sacrificial death for the sins of the world. Christ died for your sins. Christ died for my sins. Christ died, was dead and buried. The end. Actually, just the beginning. Christ rose from the dead and is now the one who can forgive our sins and lead us through this life to eternal life. Christ calls us to believe and follow him. That’s the seed. It’s good seed. The best seed ever. The power of a new life from God, ready to be planted into the soil of our lives. And that’s the point of Jesus’ story; what kind of soil are you?

Are you soil like a hardened footpath across the field, so hard that the good news of Jesus can’t get into your life? So hard that the seed sits on top and is snatched away by the evil one before you even realize what you’ve missed? Maybe you’re like rocky soil. You receive the Good News about Jesus with joy. You like it and you’re glad to be forgiven! But life gets tough, things don’t go as planned, troubles come your way. You thought following Jesus would mean an easy life and the young plant withers. Perhaps you’re like thorny soil. You like Jesus, but you also like making money and buying stuff, and you get easily worried about things, and you’re worries and desire for stuff choke out the plant of faith, and no fruit can grow.

But what if you are good soil? What if your life is soft, dark soil, just right and ready to give the seed of faith of Jesus Christ a good home in which to grow. And it does. Faith in Christ grows in the soil of your life. The evil one cannot snatch it from your life. The troubles and challenges of life actually spur your faith to grow stronger! You get your life prioritized with Jesus Christ as first – and your faith grows and produces a harvest. God uses your life to do more to honor God and serve others than you ever imagined! Good seed in good soil produces a great harvest!

What kind of soil are you? Do you need to till up the soil of your life because it’s become hardened by past hurts and troubles? Do you need to pick some rocks of selfishness, or jealousy, or bitterness out of your life, so the seed of faith can grow? Do you need to do some weeding, pulling up – roots and all – the weeds of worry and want? The question is not “What is Jesus Christ going to do with me?”; the question is “What am I going to do with Jesus Christ?” Be good soil for faith in Christ.